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Exploring the Different Grades of Ceylon Tea

Exploring the Different Grades of Ceylon Tea
Exploring the Different Grades of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea is one of the most popular and widely consumed teas in the world. But did you know that there are actually different grades of Ceylon tea? Each grade has its own unique flavour, aroma, and characteristics, making it important to understand what makes each grade stand apart from the others. Let’s take a look at the various grades of Ceylon tea and explore their differences.

What is Ceylon Tea?

Ceylon tea is a type of black tea that is grown in Sri Lanka (previously known as Ceylon). It has been cultivated in this region since the 1800s, and has become one of the most popular types of black tea around the world. The unique taste and aroma make it a favourite among tea connoisseurs.

Different Grades of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea comes in different grades:

Orange Pekoe (OP), Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), Broken Pekoe (BP), Broken Pekoe Souchong (BPS), Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) and Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP). Each grade has its own flavour profile and brewing method, so let’s take a look at each one separately.

Orange Pekoe (OP)

This is the most common and highest grade of Ceylon tea; it is usually found in tea bags as well as loose leaf form. Orange Pekoe tea consists mostly of large leaves with some broken pieces. This type of Ceylon tea has a strong flavour and aroma, making it an ideal choice for those who enjoy a bold cup of tea. It is also known to be quite invigorating and energising due to its high caffeine content

The flavour profile is mellow but full-bodied with slight notes of citrus and wood. It’s often used as a base for flavoured teas like Earl Grey, due to its ability to absorb other flavours without overpowering them.

OP can be brewed with boiling water for 3-4 minutes, depending on personal preference.

Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP)

This grade consists of smaller pieces than OP, but still has some tips or buds mixed in with the leaves. It produces an equally full-bodied cup with slightly less flavour than OP.

BOP should be brewed with boiling water for 4-5 minutes for best results.


BOP stands for “Broken Orange Pekoe”; BP stands for “Broken Pekoe”; and BPS stands for “Broken Pekoe Souchong”—all three denote broken pieces or fannings made from larger OP or FOP leaves. These broken pieces infuse quickly in hot water and produce a strong, robust cup with bold maltiness and delicate floral undertones that linger on the palate long after drinking. BPS teas are especially prized because they contain some whole leaf buds along with the broken bits—these buds add even more complexity to the already rich flavour profile!

Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP)

The FOP grade consists mostly of larger leaves with some tips mixed in. This type of Ceylon tea has a more delicate flavour than OP grade but still retains some strength and aroma. The FOP grade is considered to be higher quality than OP because its leaves contain more essential oils which give it a smoother taste and less astringency than OP grade teas. This makes FOP teas perfect for those looking for a milder cup without sacrificing too much flavour or aroma.

Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) is similar to OP in terms of size and colour, but the flavour profile is slightly more intense. In FOP teas, some of the leaves have started to unfurl slightly; this indicates that they were picked at peak ripeness and therefore have a more robust flavour than their OP counterparts. The taste can be described as sweet yet earthy with gentle floral notes.

FOP should be brewed with boiling water for 2-3 minutes for best results.

Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP) Grade Ceylon Tea

The GFOP grade is made up entirely of unbroken tips from select leaves on the top part of the bush which are handpicked during harvesting season in Sri Lanka’s high-elevation regions such as Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula. These tips have even more essential oils which impart them with a sweet, honey-like flavour that is unlike any other type of tea out there! The best thing about this type of Ceylon tea is that it can be steeped multiple times without losing its flavour or aroma, making it perfect for those who love to savour every sip!

There you have it—a brief overview of the different grades of Ceylon tea! As you can see, each grade has its own unique characteristics when it comes to size, colour, and flavour profile—so don't be afraid to experiment with different types until you find one that suits your tastes best! After all, who doesn't love exploring new teas? Enjoy!


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